Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Diana Whiteside - Kisses Like A Devil
“Strikingly handsome, wealthy, and accomplished, Brian Donovan has succeeded in everything he puts his mind to—except marriage. Now, as a favor to his former military commander Teddy Roosevelt, Brian is investigating a powerful new weapon invented in the small European country of Eisengau. The task carries prestige, danger, and an enticing complication in the lithe form of Meredith Duncan. With her deliciously candid approach to all things sensual, Meredith is unlike any woman Brian has known. In fact, she wants him to ruin her reputation—and Brian eagerly obliges, initiating a passionate, playful, and wildly erotic affair…
A feminist who believes in free love, Meredith has always battled convention. When her parents urge her toward an odious marriage, Meredith turns to the dashing, thoroughly masculine American who could be her only hope of escape. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and as competition to acquire the new weapon turns deadly, two lovers are drawn into a treacherous game where the stakes run as high as their raw, mutual desire, and the greatest risk of all may lie within an untested and all-consuming love…”
Kisses Like A Devil is the next chapter in Diana Whiteside’s Donovan family saga, this historical romantic suspense story is set against the backdrop of a turbulent world at the turn of the century (1900). After a short prologue that explains Meredith’s situation, Diana Whiteside throws you into a political and diplomatic scheming that takes place in Eisengau.
Eisengau is sort of a military state where the head of state, the Grand Duke, controls everything through his secret police. No change is welcome and none has happened in decades. Eisengau is famous for its unchallenged and superior weaponry.
Meredith wants to steal the only set of blueprints of a powerful new weapon and use them to improve the situation of the workers in Eisengau. She is a high spirited, bold and beautiful lady who feels passionately about her goal. Brian is a rich, hard-working man who is a real patriot and family man. They come from complete opposite worlds, where Brian’s family is close and loving Meredith’s family is cold and self-serving.
“Are you a virgin?” “I’ve had two lovers, for a total of,” she paused to count up, “three hours.” He choked. “Are you always so precise?” “I look forward to enjoying the benefits of your greater skills,” she added demurely.
I have to admit that it took me a couple of chapters before I grew accustomed to Diana’s Whiteside’s writing, it is very defining. The suspense part of the story immediately takes off full steam ahead, overwhelming you with lots of details of all kinds of weaponry and the political scheming of different countries to obtain access to Eisengau’s military equipment. Thanks to a lengthy description you can almost draw a map of Eisengau by heart.
It feels like you have tumbled right in the middle of a Mission Impossible movie in which Tom Cruise has been replaced by Brian and Meredith and evil comes in the shape of Sazanov (representative of Russia). Till ¾ of the book the suspense part is good and believable but it is the end that is hard to swallow, it has lots of loose ends.
For example, the big explosion, the chase of Sazanov for the blueprints and especially how that ends is just too far-fetched. Meredith is the only one who can reproduce the blueprints for an important weapon, yet no powerful nation is coming after her to get their greedy hands on it?? It is like the suspense part of the story has been cut short and I am still waiting for the final big bang to happen.
I don’t know why but Meredith and Brian as a romantic couple do not set me on fire. Meredith is by far the leading person in the story and Brian is the follower, also Meredith’s character is better developed than Brian’s. The romance part is not in balance with the suspense part therefore it is not worked out with depth, because of that the characters of Meredith and Brian do not stand out romantically next to the suspense plot.
And the romantic plotline also has loose ends, from the reader’s point of view it might have been nice to know how the relationship between Meredith and her family ends/develops and at the start of this story Brian’s goal was to find a way to help his brother who is trapped in Peking, but throughout the story the search for help seems to have disappeared into thin air.
Basically where it boils down to is that the end of Kisses Like A Devil is not strong enough to satisfy the reader and that the romance is too flimsy to be really hot and passionate. Till ¾ of the book I found the suspense part interesting and entertaining, however the end of the story was a letdown for me and left me unsatisfied and full of questions.